Adventure Treks Instructor Orientation 2011 starts today! We have just completed our 2011 Trip leader retreat and I wanted to tell you all how excited I am for these wonderful and capable folks to lead your children this summer. We have spent the past five days in a large cabin near Mt Hood in Oregon. This is an incredible group of leaders. Let me begin with our four regional Directors, Stephen Gardiner, Ben Mirkin, Niki Gaeta, and Liddell Shannon. In this group are three Masters degrees and a Doctorate! They are on average 33 years old and together they share 35 years of combined Adventure Treks experience (average tenure 8.5 years). Next are the wonderful trip leaders. Our 14 trip leaders average 27 years in age with an average tenure of 5.5 years each at Adventure Treks. Obviously there is a lot of collective Adventure Treks wisdom to be shared within this group!
During the retreat, we focused on how to both lead and manage a trip and how to use your personal style to best advantage. Several discussions focused on current leadership theory, recent societal trends in today’s kids, and current thinking on adolescent development. The majority of our time was spent on Adventure Treks specific topics like “Adding the Wow,” backcountry risk management, the Adventure Treks non-negotiables, numerous safety and student and staff management scenarios and of course, parental communication.
Perhaps the most important part of the week is the informal sharing as trip leaders trade off their intimate knowledge of trip specifics, logistics and their time tested techniques for working with kids. Our staff continuity is what makes our program so strong and truly different from most others. It’s never all work at Adventure Treks; this team of trip leaders really enjoys each other’s company. We played several fun games and went for a hike together to “warm up” for the season. There’s still plenty of snow up high and we are adjusting some itineraries slightly in expectation of a slow-melting snow pack.
Adventure Treks instructor orientation begins in southern Washington today. We will have almost 60 instructors in attendance and this will be a very informative and exciting time. It’s the most important week of my year. We will be here together for seven days and then each trip group of 6 instructors will depart to scout their own trip and do trip specific training under the leadership of their trip leader. Typically a new instructor will have two weeks of training before they meet the first student.
We have a great group of role models. I am excited for them to inspire your children and welcome your child into our Adventure Treks community. We hope you are getting as excited as we are! It’s going to be a great summer outdoors!